Covid-19 outbreak 2020

Covid-19 outbreak 2020
Science • Medicine
A third Pfizer dose is likely needed within 12 months, says CEO
A third Pfizer dose is likely needed within 12 months, says CEO
Credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, stated that a third dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is "likely" needed within 12 months in order to get fully vaccinated.

“A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role,” so Bourla.

Regional News • Europe
Europe surpasses 1 million Covid-19 deaths
Europe surpasses 1 million Covid-19 deaths
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1 million people have died from Covid-19 in Europe, the World Health Organization announced on Thursday.

The WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge warned that the situation remains "serious," with about 1.6 million new cases reported each week in the region.

Regional News • Europe
Denmark stops AstraZeneca vaccine rollout completely
Denmark stops AstraZeneca vaccine rollout completely
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Denmark has removed the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from its vaccination program, saying it is not needed because the country has already reached "such an advanced point" in its vaccine rollout.

The Danish Health Authority said studies had shown a higher than expected frequency of blood clots following doses, affecting about one in 40,000 people.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
France suspends all Brazil flights due to Covid-19 variants
France suspends all Brazil flights due to Covid-19 variants
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

France suspended all flights from Brazil on Tuesday amid mounting fears over the particularly contagious Covid variant that has been sweeping the South American country.

"We note that the situation is getting worse and so we have decided to suspend all flights between Brazil and France until further notice," Castex said, drawing scattered applause from lawmakers.

Castex noted that travelers from Brazil already needed to test negative for the virus before their departure and upon arrival in France, and also quarantine for 10 days.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German moves to uniform Covid-19 measures nationwide
German moves to uniform Covid-19 measures nationwide
Credit: Bundeskanzlerin

The federal government has said "emergency brake" measures to combat rising case numbers are legally mandated in all federal states, replacing a patchwork system. The change needs to be approved by the Bundestag.

If approved, the new system means that any region in any state with a high Covid-19 case incidence will be legally required to implement a uniform set of rules set out by the federal government.

Regional News • Asia • India
Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine approved in India
Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine approved in India
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

India's Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved use of Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine. India is said to produce 750 million doses of the Russian vaccine.

"India, the world’s 2nd most populous nation, became the 60th country to register #SputnikV after positive results of local Phase 3 clinical study. Sputnik V is now authorized in 60 countries with a population of over 3 [billion] people," the Sputnik V official Twitter account wrote.

Science • Medicine
US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

After six women developed a rare disorder involving blood clots after being administered the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, US health agencies have called for an immediate pause of the vaccine.

“Today FDA and @CDCgov issued a statement regarding the Johnson & Johnson #COVID19 vaccine. We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the Food and Drug Administration wrote on Twitter.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Vienna extends hard lockdown until May 2
Vienna extends hard lockdown until May 2
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The hard lockdown in Austria's capital of Vienna has been extended until at least May 1, Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig announced on Monday. While Covid-19 infections have decreased in the past weeks, the city's hospitals are at capacity with a new record of 611 patients in the ICU as of Monday.

The measures include a 24-hour curfew, closure of all non-essential shops and mandatory FFP2 masks in all rooms where more than one person is present.

Regional News • World
North Korea will not participate in Tokyo Summer Olympics over fear of Covid-19
North Korea will not participate in Tokyo Summer Olympics over fear of Covid-19
Credit: unsplash.com / Thomas Evans

North Korea will not attend the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the North's Olympic Committee announced, saying it "decided not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games during the general assembly to protect our athletes from the global health crisis situation related to the coronavirus as proposed by committee members."

The country, which has a history of no transparency, claims that it has not had any confirmed cases nor deaths related to Covid-19.

Regional News • Asia • India
India's struggle with Coronavirus: 142,879 new daily cases, shortage of vaccines

India reported 142,879 new daily cases on Sunday. This new trend makes the outbreak in the country the fastest growing outbreak worldwide. The country is experiencing a vaccine shortage, even though it's the world's largest manufacturer of Coronavirus vaccines.

Science • Medicine
BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to offer protection against Covid-19 for at least 6 months
BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to offer protection against Covid-19 for at least 6 months
Credit: Logo via Pfizer & BioNTech

According to a published research by Pfizer, the BionTech-Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine offers protection against Covid-19 for at least 6 months.

"Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE today announced updated topline results from analysis of 927 confirmed symptomatic cases of COVID-19 observed in their pivotal Phase 3 study through March 13, 2021, showing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, was 91.3% effective against COVID-19, measured seven days through up to six months after the second dose," so the statement.

Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer said that the data confirmed "the favorable efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine", adding that the "high vaccine efficacy observed through up to six months following a second dose and against the variant prevalent in South Africa provides further confidence in our vaccine’s overall effectiveness."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Puerto Rico to close schools amid Covid-19 surge
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico Credit: Tasha Jolley

The closures would go into effect April 12, roughly a month after some 100 of the island's 858 public schools were authorized to reopen for the first time in a year amid the pandemic. The announcement was praised by some health experts, teachers and parents who worried about an increase in infections and had warned that reopening schools was a rushed decision. Health Secretary Carlos Mellado said that while no COVID-19 breakouts were identified at any of the schools, the move is necessary given the recent spike in cases.

Science • Medicine
EMA reviewing possible link between Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and blood clots
EMA reviewing possible link between Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and blood clots
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Medicines Agency announced Friday that it is reviewing a possible connection between the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and blood clots, Reuters reports.

"Four serious cases of rare blood clots with low platelets, one of which was fatal, have been reported after inoculation with J&J’s vaccine from its Janssen unit, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) said," Reuters wrote.

Regional News • Americas • United States
B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant now dominant strain in the US
B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant now dominant strain in the US
Credit: unsplash.com/Markus Spiske

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday that the B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant is now the most common strain in the United States.

"Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," Walensky said

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austrian President Van der Bellen receives first dose of Covid-19 vaccine
Austrian President Van der Bellen receives first dose of Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Screenshot via Twitter, @vanderbellen

Alexander Van der Bellen, the president of Austria, has received his first dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine on Friday, he announced on Twitter, adding it was "just a little prick".

"I hope there will soon be enough vaccine so that everyone who wants to can get vaccinated. Because every vaccination counts and is a contribution to normalization - so that we can hopefully soon meet again without worrying, sit together and chat," he added.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany reports 650.000 Covid-19 vaccinations in a single day - highest number so far
Germany reports 650.000 Covid-19 vaccinations in a single day - highest number so far
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

On Wednesday, the number of Covid-19 vaccinations in Germany reached a new high: 656,357 doses were administered according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) - 290,000 more than the previous day. This means that around 11.5 million citizens have now received at least one vaccination against Covid-19. 4.7 million people - and thus 5.7 percent of the population - are now fully vaccinated.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil exceeds 340,000 deaths by Covid-19
Brazil exceeds 340,000 deaths by Covid-19
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Brazil recorded 3,733 deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, totaling this April 7th 341,097 victims since the beginning of the pandemic. After the record of deaths registered the previous day, this is the third worst mark so far. As a result, the moving average of deaths in the country in the last 7 days was 2,744. Compared to the average of 14 days ago, the variation was + 21%, indicating an upward trend in deaths from the disease.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden announces Covid-19 vaccine eligibility for all US adults by April 19
Joe Biden  stopped by a vaccination clinic at the Virginia Theological Seminary, April 6, 2021
Joe Biden stopped by a vaccination clinic at the Virginia Theological Seminary, April 6, 2021 Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all US adults will be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, two weeks earlier than the initial May 1 date.

"Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life and death race against this virus," Biden cautioned, adding that as "new variants of the virus are spreading and they’re moving quickly, cases are going back up, hospitalizations are no longer declining."

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German CDU chair Armin Laschet calls for harder lockdown
German CDU chair Armin Laschet calls for harder lockdown
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) State Premier Armin Laschet called for a harder lockdown on Monday as Germany struggles to contain a third wave of the coronavirus. The chairman of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and one of her potential successor as chancellor said that Germany needed harder lockdown measures to stem a rise in cases of Covid-19.

"We need a bridge lockdown. We have to build a bridge to the point in time when a lot of people are vaccinated," Laschet told.

Science • Medicine
EMA official says there's a clear link between AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA denies having found link
EMA official says there's a clear link between AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA denies having found link
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

There's a clear link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA's Head of Anti-infectives and Vaccines Marco Cavaleri told the Italian daily newspaper Il Messagero on Thursday.

“In my opinion, we can now say it, it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However, we still do not know what causes this reaction,” so Cavaleri.

The European Medicines Agency issued a statement hours later, denying that a connection has been already established, saying it had “not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing”, but expects to announce findings later this week.

Regional News • Oceania
Australian-New Zealand quarantine-free travel bubble to start on April 18
Australian-New Zealand quarantine-free travel bubble to start on April 18
Credit: Governor-General of New Zealand, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday that Australian and New Zealand residents will be able to travel between the two countries without having to quarantine. The trans-Tasman travel bubble will start on Sunday, April 18 at 11:59 p.m.

“This is an important step forward in our COVID response and represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other part of the world. That is, safely opening up international travel to another country while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and a commitment to keeping the virus out,” Arden said.

Regional News • Asia • India
Delhi, India imposes night curfew amid rise in Coronavirus cases
Disinfection drive during lockdown 4.0 at Delhi, May 2020
Disinfection drive during lockdown 4.0 at Delhi, May 2020 Credit: Sumita Roy Dutta, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Delhi, India’s capital territory, imposed a night curfew amid a rise in Coronavirus cases. The 10 p.m to 5 a.m. curfew is effective immediately. Medical and media personell as well as delivery staff are still allowed to travel at night.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Over 161m Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US
Over 161m Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 161,688,422 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States as of Saturday, April 2.

104,213,478 people have received at least the first dose, and 59,858,146 people have been fully vaccinated.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Argentina's President Alberto Fernández tests positive for Covid-19 in rapid test
Alberto Fernández receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine
Alberto Fernández receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine Credit: Esteban Collazo/Casa Rosada

The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, reported in the early hours of Saturday, April 3rd that he tested positive for Covid-19 after showing symptoms of the disease. Fernández had the two doses of the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.

"For everyone's information, I am physically fine and, although I wanted to end my birthday without this news, I am also in a good mood," posted the president of Argentina, who thanked for the messages of congratulations.

"We believe we are starting the second wave, with a sustained increase in cases, which causes concern," Health Minister Carla Vizzotti told a radio station on Friday.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
University of Washington projects 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in Brazil during April
University  of Washington projects 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in Brazil during April
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, from the University of Washington, in the United States, projects one hundred thousand deaths from Covid-19 in Brazil in April alone. According to Ethel Maciel, an epidemiologist and professor at the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Ufes), if the current pace is maintained, Brazil may surpass the United States in absolute numbers of deaths in August. The moving average of deaths exceeded 3,000 for the second time and reached 3,013, according to data from the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass).

Regional News • Europe • Italy
Italy entered a three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination snags
Italy entered a three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination snags
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Italy entered a three-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown Saturday to deter Easter travel and get-togethers even as the country's variant-fueled spike in new infections began to wane.

The government had announced last month that it would place all regions into the strictest "red zone" lockdown over the Easter weekend to limit the chances of contagion, taking the same precautions it enforced over Christmas and New Year's. But because Italian hospitals in most regions are still well over their Covid-19 capacity in both intensive care units and other wards, the ministry concluded that new infections were still "too high ... to allow any reduction in current restrictive measures."

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Berlin Senate decides on stricter contact restrictions from Good Friday
Berlin Senate decides on stricter contact restrictions from Good Friday
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Berlin Senate agreed on Thursday on stricter contact restrictions from Good Friday. The governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD), announced this after a Senate meeting. According to this, Berliners are initially only allowed to be outside alone or in pairs between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Over Easter, the previous regulations with a maximum of five people from two households will remain. In both cases, children up to the age of 14 are not counted.

Michael Müller (SPD), the governing mayor, defended the stricter rules at a press conference after a senate meeting on Thursday afternoon. "Infections arise through direct contacts in the professional, school and private environment.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German President Steinmeier vaccinated with AstraZeneca
German President Steinmeier vaccinated with AstraZeneca
Credit: Адміністрація Президента України, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the president of Germany, has been vaccinated with AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine at the Bundeswehr Hospital in Berlin on Thursday, his office reported.

"I trust the vaccines approved in Germany," Steinmeier said in a statement. "Today I received my first vaccination with AstraZeneca. Vaccination is the crucial step on the way out of the pandemic. Take advantage of the opportunities. Get involved!"

Regional News • Europe
WHO says European vaccine rollout is "unacceptably slow"
WHO says European vaccine rollout is "unacceptably slow"
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a statement, saying that "speeding up vaccination roll-out is crucial as new cases in the WHO European Region are increasing in every age group, apart from one."

Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, stated that vaccines are highly effective in preventing infections, but the "roll-out of these vaccines is unacceptably slow". Kluge is recommending "the same public health and social measures as we have in the past to compensate for delayed schedules" and added, "we must speed up the process by ramping up manufacturing, reducing barriers to administering vaccines, and using every single vial we have in stock, now."

“Only 5 weeks ago, the weekly number of new cases in Europe had dipped to under 1 million, but now the Region’s situation is more worrying than we have seen in several months. There are risks associated with the increased mobility and gatherings over the religious holidays. Many countries are introducing new measures that are necessary and everyone should follow as much as they can,” said Dr Dorit Nitzan, Regional Emergency Director for the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Data reveals over a million people in the UK suffer from Long-Covid
Data reveals over a million people in the UK suffer from Long-Covid
Credit: unsplash.com/engin akyurt

UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) has stated that roughly 1.1 million people in the United Kingdom are suffering from Long Covid, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), chronic COVID syndrome (CCS) and long-haul COVID.

“The Office for National Statistics estimates that over a million people in the UK were reporting symptoms associated with long Covid at the beginning of March 2021, with over two-thirds of these individuals having had (or suspecting they had) Covid-19 at least 12 weeks earlier," so Ben Humberstone, head of health and life events at the ONS. "An estimated 674,000 people reported that their symptoms have negatively impacted on their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities. People who tested positive for Covid-19 are around eight times more likely to suffer prolonged symptoms than observed in the general population.”